Coleman should earn his seat

Donna Thistle
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Dear Editor: In your editorial of April 14, “Take The High Road” you suggest opposition parties not challenge the newly-elected leader of the PC party in an anticipated byelection for pragmatic and altruistic reasons.

That position is shared by other media as both David Cochrane of CBC’s On Point and Don Bradshaw of NTV have mentioned the same to me in casual conversation.

Considering these positions were put forth prior to Mr. Barry withdrawing from the race, I anticipate the media will encourage good public debate on whether or not that position remains our best option.

Here is my contribution to such a debate. The pragmatic reasons to let a byelection go uncontested is financial. The general public sees the words “politics and wasted money” as one and the same. Politicians should respect and heed that sentiment.  

The altruistic reason (the cover story for what is actually a pragmatic reason — see above) is — when a newly-elected leader of a party needs a seat in the house and the acquisition of said seat will not change the balance of power in the house, the other parties defer and allow the new leader the opportunity to prove (or not) themselves before the general election.

In 1990, Jean Chretien was elected, in a contested leadership race, to lead the Liberal party. Mr. Chretien was a proven politician with whom the public had a relationship.  He became leader of the party and the official opposition. His uncontested seat did not also give him leadership of the country.  There are other examples where this courtesy was extended — none of which (that I can find) gave the politician uncontested leadership of a government.  

Mr. Coleman is about to become leader of the governing party and has been made so by an insider group of his own party. If the opposition parties allow Mr. Coleman to gain his seat by acclamation he will be the premier.

A person with no political experience, who has not engaged the public in policy debate will direct our province, by default.  

This is simply — bad public policy. It has nothing to do with Mr. Coleman, the same could be said for a Mr. or Mrs. Smith who landed in the same star alignment. The PC party, sadly and seemingly, still controlled by Mr. Williams, ostracized Mr. Barry and by doing so, destroyed its only chance at a fair and democratic leadership race which could have given the people of Newfoundland and Labrador an opportunity to see what Mr. Coleman is made of.

That ship has sailed.

If the PC party chooses to call a byelection and the opposition parties defer to the insiders choice for premier we will, in effect, be saying the democratic rights of the people of Humber East, indeed the whole province, are inconsequential.

We are at a pivotal point in politics: transparency, engagement, honesty, listening are words falling out of every politicians mouth because the public is demanding it. If we allow an unknown politician to gain leadership of our province, uncontested, we will demonstrate we are deaf to voteres who are sick to death of backroom politics. The pragmatic and responsible thing for the PC party to do is, skip a byelection and go straight to a general election.  

Let the people of Humber East decide who will represent them. If they elect Mr. Coleman, then democracy is served.  We should all demand nothing less.  

Donna Thistle, Steady Brook

Organizations: Dear Editor, CBC, On Point

Geographic location: The High Road, Humber East, Newfoundland and Labrador Steady Brook

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Recent comments

  • Charles
    April 27, 2014 - 11:03

    Donna, I recall back in 2011, when I was challenging Jim Bennett of the Liberals party, concerning the liberal plans he said the liberal had concerning the fishery. He also ask me to drop him a few private words, by e-mail, but I didn't do it, Has for my questions to you, They were simple and plain, no tricks, plain comment for everyone to read. Yes Donna I did read many of your article, But the one that stand out the most with me is ( HOW DO YOU GET YOUR NAME ON THE BALLOT ). At that time I did also made a comment on your article, But its was never posted for people to read my answer to your question. So I gave up looking to see if its was posted. But if you like you can ask me anything, I will more then happy to answer, so the people can read my reply. Thank you

  • Eric
    April 24, 2014 - 09:42

    Ms Thistle's point is that Mr Coleman should run in a general election not a by election . If not a Premier of our Province will have been selected by a handful of PC insiders uncontested. This is not democratic . We the people are suppose to be involved in electing our government. Not even the people of the PC party had a say in who their leader should be , now by default he becomes our premier? Does anyone believe this has been a fair and open process ? So far we have been dragged into one of the most contentious debates in history , the topic of abortion. What next ? Denominational school system? Mr Coleman was instrumental in establishing a Catholic Private school in Corner Brook. Someone once said sex , religion and politics are three things we should not discuss at parties. So far the only thing not being discussed is Politics and the Governance of our Province.

  • Scott
    April 23, 2014 - 05:07

    Just finish reading this article by Donna Thistle, along with the comment, Only got one problem with the comments, one by Mr Sharpe, Sir is it wrong to ask questions, of anyone who planning on seeking nomination for any provincial party. Sir I think you lost your focus concerning this article, By any chance are you relation of Donna.

  • Charles
    April 23, 2014 - 04:41

    @ Dave Sharpe, So really what your trying to say, we need more burden put on the back of the taxpayers? We the people got no right to see if this person may or may not have anything to bring to the table but wind. Dave don't you think we have more then enough of useless politicians now in office. Has for my question, leave those for her to answer. Because I'm sure you got nothing to offer. Because if you did, you yourself would have try and answer one or two..

    • Donna Thistle
      April 25, 2014 - 09:52

      Charles, If you have been reading the Western Star since Sept 2013, you will be aware of many of the issues I believe are important. And of course, as a voter you should question any politician on the issues that are important to you. If you would like to engage in meaningful dialogue around the substantive issues I would be please to respond to any questions you send my way. Box 238, RR#1 Corner Brook, NL A2H 2N2

  • Linda
    April 22, 2014 - 11:28

    Question Donna where were you too, when the liberals were looking for leader for the party, no where to be seen...TRUE... Now your hoping to get a ride on the coat tails of the party...TRUE..Girl your just another opportunist.

    • dave sharpe
      April 22, 2014 - 17:09

      Si Linda, unless she ran for the leadership position she has nothing of value to say. Tell us all how you did when you ran please. How is it that you come to the conclusion that if one did not run for leader then they are just an opportunist, that is truly bizarre, and laughable all at the same time Linda. At least make an effort to make some sense.

  • Charles
    April 22, 2014 - 11:20

    Ok Donna, Please explain to the people, how would you go about improving the economy in Humber East, or anywhere else come to that!!! Did you agree with Tom Marshall just passing over 110 million dollars, to CBPP with out creating more jobs in the plant or in the forestry? Do you support shipping out our young people, and filling the gap with foreign workers? Tell us Donna, some of your policy concerning the districts? I guess your like the rest, all wind. short on ideas.

    • dave sharpe
      April 22, 2014 - 17:17

      Clearly Charles this article was a response to a very specific circumstance. I am sure that Ms Thistle would have much to say on the very pertinent points you bring up. Would you not agree there would be a better time to do so, or should she just comment on everything under the sun in one article so as to please all people at once, seriously. It is exceedingly easy to pounce and make snide remarks, when one knows they will not be offering themselves up for election. A simple question to her might get some of the very answers you want, without the rhetoric thrown in for good measure. Have a nice day. :)

  • muriel parrott
    April 22, 2014 - 08:02

    My opinion of Mr. Coleman is that he may be a great person with selling furniture and groceries . but not as a P.c. leader. he's just a rooky, he should quit like the others. the P.C. party should get more new people in for the running, start over again.. we need someone like Bill Barry, too bad that he quit. Danny Williams had his big mouth into it, Danny can't push Bill Barry around, but Mr. Coleman would be wrapped around Danny Williams finger. step down frank, you are not the right person for this job. the NDP and the Liberals will have you chewed up and spit out. hide behind the rest of the pc members, they are not going to fight your battles for you. you are going to represent Nl. and Labrador?. we will be back in Joey Smallwood's time, we will be screwed again, no one wants to see that again. so step down you haven't got what it takes, we need a leader.